This year I've been training hard, had a couple of hard races, and have been a bit tired recently. So we had a relatively easy week, and I was keen to see how I'd go this year.
We decided to stay the night at the Mount (having gone to some afternoon drinks at a mate's in Rotorua). We found the best Mexican ever for dinner. Food = awesome. Chillies = not a great feeling tummy the next day. Lesson learnt (if it wasn't already obvious)
Last year at contact, I took 31 minutes, which was very, very poor. At Tinman, two weeks later, I somehow did 26:30 including T1, which was just a bit silly.
This year, I did 29:16 for the swim, and 1:56 for T1 (which is slow, but oh well). The swim was definitely slower all round. Last year Kieran Doe did 16:12 including T1. This year he took 18:22, plus 55 seconds for T1 (he was the fastest both years). So clearly it took longer.
I also didn't do swim as tactically well as I should have. I did try to draft, and I was feeling much better than at Contact (and my arms never got sore), but I could have gone faster, and should have pushed harder at the start, and held on for the rest. Lesson learnt.
Last year I took 1:10:50, averaged 196 watts (normalized power of 202), average HR 171. This year, I knew I could hold a slighter higher output, and was feeling pretty good. I took 1:07:40, averaged 202 watts (normalized power 209 watts), average HR 171 (so higher power for same HR).
This year I discovered the pain in the a** that is the bunches (didn't really have a problem with it last year). I was riding a fairly consistent output (thank you, power meter). People around me were not. They seemed intent on chasing me, passing me, then slowing down (to a speed slower than I was going). I was particularly pleased when a bunch passed me, two people tucked right in in front of me, two behind me, and a couple to the side, boxing me in (which resulted in a drafting warning). This also made my average watts lower, because I ended up drafting (unintentionally) intermittently .What was interesting was the different legal drafting made - up to 20 watts some times - so good to remember.
Then again, I know the Half will be like this, so lesson learnt.
Addendum - just checked, and despite having some dude get in my way, and not being able to get one of my shoes on properly, I had the 16th = fastest T2 (out of the dudes - 4 women were faster), which is choice.
Last year I took 43:54 (for the 10.5 or so k run). That included the run out of transition. This year I took 44:19 (plus some additional time for the run out of transition - maybe 40 - 50 seconds). So slower, but I was not feeling quite as good, and my hip was hurting a bit.
This year I took just over 20 minutes for the first 5k (norm pace of 4:01 mins/k - compared to last year's 4:02). I kept trying to push, but was slowing a bit, and then got to the mount track. Once again, it was hard, but I held an okish pace all the way around (but didn't push on the down quite enough). I didn't have quite the same kick at the end as last year, so was about a minute slower all up (second 5k+ [it's a bit long] took 24 or so minutes (4:24 mins/k), with a norm pace of 4:20 mins/k - compared to an actual 4:18 mins/k and norm pace of 4:03 for the rest of the run). I had an average HR of 176.
So not as good as last year, but my hip wasn't feeling awesome, and I haven't been able to run anywhere near as much as I had at this point last year.
So, I was about 2:30 slower this year than last. But that's almost totally because of the swim. I rode better, and didn't run too badly.
I was a bit disappointed after the race, because I hadn't felt like I could push as hard as I wanted. But on reflection, I didn't do too badly.
What's pleasing is that I felt pretty good afterwards, and I feel really good now. I'm not sore (well yet, anyway), and keen to crack back into it.